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Public Statements

Letter to Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry


Senator Tom Harkin
Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry
Room SR-328A
Russell Senate Office Building
Washington , DC. 20510-6000

Dear Chairman Harkin:

As long-time supporters of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), we write to urge you to include companion language within your chairman's mark that reflects the COOL compromise reached during consideration of the House-passed farm bill.

Because of USDA's inability over the past five years to create a workable and common-sense rule, now is the time for congressional intervention to ensure the long-awaited implementation of mandatory COOL. The consensus reached by strong COOL proponents and COOL opponents represents a reasonable compromise and finally clears the way to timely and reasonable implementation. The problems and concerns created by USDA among producers, packers and retailers are alleviated by this compromise language.

Failure of the Senate to include identical language to solidify this agreement from the onset of our farm bill debate creates an unnecessary opportunity for some to generate obstacles at a time when great momentum forward has been achieved.

Numerous consumer polls have consistently shown widespread support for COOL. In July 2007, Consumers Union conducted a poll that found 92 percent of respondents believed imported food products should be labeled with their country of origin. Zogby International conducted a consumer poll in August 2007 and found 95 percent believe consumers have a right to know the country of origin of the foods they purchase. These two latest polls are just further verifications of information we have known for years; consumers want to know where their food comes from and including the House farm bill language within your mark will allow a step in the right direction toward finally making that desire a reality.

We appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to finally witnessing the benefits to American consumers and producers upon the long-awaited and successful implementation of mandatory COOL.

Sincerely,

Tim Johnson
Charles E. Grassley
Mike Enzi
John Barrasso
Byron L. Dorgan
Max Baucus
Claire McCaskill
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Barack Obama
Jeff Bingaman
Herb Kohl
Sherrod Brown
Barbara Boxer
Ken Salazar
Jon Tester
John F. Kerry
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Ron Wyden
Patty Murray
Richard J. Durbin
Russell D. Feingold
Christopher J. Dodd
Maria Cantwell
Dianne Feinstein
Debbie Stabenow
Richard Shelby
Charles E. Schumer
Lisa Murkowski
Jeff Sessions
Kent Conrad


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